Reassembly of Kane mail cart completed

David Peck

The Lovell-Kane Area Museum has a new item being displayed in the depot warehouse at the museum on Oregon Avenue in Lovell – a reassembled mail cart used for decades at the Kane post office.
Museum board president Karen Spragg said the post office was established around 1909 and was operated out of residents’ homes. She said David Scott was the postmaster in 1915, followed by Maye Scott as postmistress at the Maye and Herschel Scott residence in the 1920s and ‘30s.
Spragg’s mother, Velta Ellis, became the postmistress in 1940 and held the position until February of 1965, when the post office was closed due to the expected inundation of the townsite by Big Horn Lake with the completion of Yellowtail Dam.
The cart was used until around 1950, and Spragg remembers her mother using it when she was a child.
“I can remember her pushing it over to the depot,” Spragg said. “It was all on gravel roads, not nice, smooth asphalt roads.”
After no longer being needed at the post office, the cart sat in George and Velta Ellis’ yard, then was passed to daughter Elaine Good. Good, Spragg’s sister, gave it to her three or four years ago, and Spragg donated it to the museum in the name of the George and Velta Ellis family.
After wagon craftsman Pat Steed completed restoration of the Kane school wagon in 2022, Spragg asked him to tackle the mail cart, giving him the remnants in early November. Steed worked fast, she said.
“He got it the first part of November, and he brought it back two days before Christmas,” she said.
The work
As with the school wagon, Steed used as much of the cart’s original wood and metal as possible including the boards on each side, front and rear, the two wheels and the metal handle. The original wood boards have grooves where the somewhat loose boards would encounter and be worn by the metal wheels.
Chad Petrich donated two oak boards for the sides, placed behind the original side boards for support and to tie into the axels.
“They hold everything together,” Steed said. “They’re the backbone of the cart.”
Petrich also donated old pine floorboards that match the weathered cart wood “so it all looks original,” Steed said.
Steed said it wasn’t a difficult project, noting, “It only took me a couple of evenings.”